Loopholes in Strata Rentals

Tips for strata owners dealing with rental restriction bylaws

Loopholes in Strata Rentals
Tips for strata owners dealing with rental restriction bylaws

Landlords who hope to rent out strata lots in strata corporations have long been on the look-out for rental restriction bylaws.  Anyone planning to rent a strata lot or purchase one should carefully examine the bylaws of the strata corporation to understand what, if any, rental restrictions may exist.  There is no guarantee that an owner will always be able to rent as the owners could restrict or ban rental bylaws by a ¾ vote bylaw amendment.

There have been various avenues available to landlords who wish to rent their strata properties where rentals have been capped at a certain maximum number.  Recently, the Supreme Court of British Columbia clarified yet another process that landlords could take advantage of where the landlord has been denied permission to rent.

The most often used “loopholes” to relax or avoid a rental restriction are:

  1. Grandfathering provisions;
  2. Hardship applications; or
  3. Failure of the strata council to provide written notice of their decision on a request to rent within the time provided in the Strata Property Act.

The latest process examined by the courts has been around for a while, but there has not been any direct commentary on it by the court until now.  The Act requires that the strata corporation that restricts the number of strata lots that can be rented must have a procedure to administer the limit and must have that procedure set out in the bylaws. If the strata does not meet this requirement, then the rental restriction is not enforceable and any owner can rent their strata lot without permission.

While it is hard to know for certain, there are probably not a lot of strata corporations who have the proper rental administration procedures set out within their bylaws.  Drafting of a proper rental restriction bylaw would likely require legal advice. It is for that reason that landlords who are faced with the inability to rent their strata lot on account of the strata corporation having reached the maximum rentals allowed should review the bylaws of the strata corporation to see if the strata corporation lacks the necessary rental restriction administration bylaw.  If the bylaw is missing or inadequate, the landlord may be able to rent the strata lot with no restriction.

Published online on July 21, 2016.